Being a parent, to say the very least, is a rollercoaster ride filled with unexpected twists and turns and innumerable ups and downs. But it’s also just about the best job on the planet.
My daughter is 8. My stepson, now 16, has been in my life for about 13 years. So, I’ve been at this for a time.
Where he has always been so laid back and willing to go and do things, his little sister is more like me – quiet and reticent, more comfortable to observe than join in.
It’s taken me these 41 years of mine to figure out that my insecurities, my need to self-talk to boost my confidence, doesn’t need to hold me back.
It’s cost me some experiences in my younger years, for sure. But I’ve learned, for the most part, how to be in the driver’s seat rather than letting my deficiencies lead the way.
Where I’ve seen my stepson go for something like it’s second nature, I’ve seen my daughter hold back on things for fear, and it breaks my heart to think that she may face my same sometimes paralyzing struggles.
Even though my particular struggles have helped shape this person that I’ve become, and that I am pretty happy with, as a mom, well, it is very difficult to see my child hurting even when her figuring it out is what needs to be done.
Recently I had to sit back, and stay back, while my daughter worked through something. It is possibly the hardest thing I’ve had to do thus far in this mommy journey. She was trying out a class, and while she had been reluctant to do so, there was joy, too, in potentially taking up this new experience.
She was out there with the other pupils getting very kind guidance from the instructor, and I was proud. And then the kids were called to leave the floor and have a seat against the wall so each child could get individual instruction.
Well, when I saw her sitting there against the wall, my mommy’s heart split into pieces. She was crying, and her arduous efforts to not cry were perhaps only evident to this mom.
No one else, even her dad, noticed that this child was having a struggle, and that’s alright.
Sometimes, the hot tears come and you don’t want the attention that can come with them. You just need to be left alone for a moment until you can quell them on your own.
She didn’t look at me, not once. That’s likely good, because had she turned her struggling self to me, I very well might have swooped in there, even if that’s the last thing I should have done.
I don’t know what my parents ever did in situations like this with me, or if there ever were situations like this.
I know that I have felt the way my kiddo felt that day in that class quite a bit, but I tried to handle it all myself, to squash it all on my own.
I remain an introvert and I’m happy with that. And even though I know better, the self-doubt and insecurities rear up at times. But, they are not the ugly, domineering things they once were. I’ve just kind of learned to accept them, you know, like a cowlick that never quite submits to the rest of a hair style.
Knowing your weaknesses is a huge step in overcoming them. And overcoming them is not always about vanquishing them into oblivion forever, but learning to live with them.
I had to learn some very hard lessons along the way, but I’ve noticed those hard lessons tend to be the ones that stick, the one’s that change the shape of a person a bit.
So, maybe I can’t wish her no hard lessons, but maybe I can wish her not so many of them. I’m hopeful she’ll need less than I did, but then she’s got some guidance that I didn’t have either, from someone who knows all too well what it’s like.
Hang in there, kid. It’s true what they say – that which does not kill us makes us stronger.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.